tv Walter Mondale and Gary Hart on Strengthening Intelligence Oversight CSPAN May 6, 2016 12:17am-1:39am EDT
and other archival films. watch for our airings of portions from the 1975 church committee hearings investigating the intelligence activities of the cia, fbi, irs and nsa. look for all of our programming every weekend on c-span3. friday on american history tv in prime time, or chooifl coverage of presidential races. beginning at :00 p.m. eastern with a ross perot campaign rally in texas from 1992. garry hart's 1987 campaign announcement and just before 10:00 p.m. a look at the 1968 campaign in the u.s. information agency film "a private decision." we wrap up the night with campaign ads from richard nixon, and robert kennedy. american history tv in prime time beginning at 8:00 p.m.
eastern here on c-span3. tonight on c-span3 we mark the 40th anniversary of the church committee's final report on the government intelligence committee. first former committee members look into covert operations. the brennan center for justice if washington, d.c. hosted this event last year. this is american history tv on c-span3.
good morning, everyone. thank you so much for coming. my name is mike german, a fellow with the brennan center for justice at the new york law school. i welcome you to strengthen oversight. this year marks 40th anniversary of the creation of senate select committee to study governmental operations with respect to intelligence activities, more simply known as church committee after chairman senator church. it was the first and only comprehensive investigation of secret intelligence activities within the united states. this is one of a series of activities that the brennan center has undertaken to recognize this anniversary. we published a report called what's wrong with the fisa court
with directors, they will be leading a panel -- two panels on executive oversight activities. we also published a report on strengthening congressional oversight signed by 18 church committee staffers, many of whom are in the room with us today and you'll notice that they have name tags on. so feel free to talk to them throughout the day. it also contains a forward written by two church committee members. the senator from minnesota, vice president walter mondale and senator gary hart. finally chief council fritz schwartz has written a new book called "the seduction of government secrecy." the purpose of today's symposium is to examine how intelligence reforms instituted, as a result of the church committee investigation 40 years ago, have fared and how they might be
improved. when the church committee issued it's report, it warned that its recommendations for reform would be tested over time and that new national security threats would arise that could be used to justify new departures from american values in the rule of law. so we have it that chaos and shamrock and others were replaced by stellar wind and score talon and fusion center, black sites and enhanced interrogation techniques. we're hoping a new generation of intelligence overseers can benefit from the wisdom generated by church committee investigation and be inspired by the decades of public service our guests dedicated to strengthening democracy. it's my honor and privilege to welcome vice president walter mondale, senator gary hart and brennan council fritz schwarz. [ applause ]
>> thank you so much for being here. i thought that i'd like to start by kind of knocking down some of the myths. one of them that i think was persistent during my time in the government as an fbi agent was that the church committee investigation took place during a period of tranquility. and that in our current situation, the threat is so high that we should put off any kind of comprehensive investigation, so as not to distract those who are working to protect us from our important mission. but here just a few of the things that were going on. the united states army withdrawn from vietnam and the north vietnamese army started its final assault on saigon. the khmer rouge took over in cambodia, king of saudi arabia assassinated.
japanese red army engaged in bombings throughout europe, middle east, i.r.a. and ulster volunteer killing dozens in northern ireland and britain. abu nadal organization bombed a twa flight from tel aviv to jfk killing 88 people. station chief was assassinated in greece, two fbi agents killed at pine indian reservation. a bombing by croatian nationalists at laguardia airport killed 11 people and puerto rican national killed four in a bombing in new york. so with this dynamic threat environment going on, how is it possible that the investigation began vice president mondale, and why was it necessary and why did you want to be a part of it? >> i think begin by looking at seymour hersh's story, an
explosive headline in the "new york times" that contained the list of abuses and dysfunction in intelligence agencies. a list made up itself that leaked and told the nation we were really in trouble. if you look at these problems you've cited, one of the reasons why we had to reform and make the agencies more responsive was in order to deal with the threats that were apparent to the security of our nation. and i would say that there was a general agreement to that. i remember i was on the floor when john stood up and moved that the creation what is now known as church committee on the grounds this couldn't continue. i'm convinced mike mansfield saw
right away this had to be dealt with. so i think what we did could be explained because it helped prevent some of the abuses in the past, some of the mistakes of the past that cost us dearly but also because we had to straighten this out and only announce a committee within the control of the senate could do it. >> why did you want to be on it? >> wow. well, you know, i had followed this stuff as a senator. i had been attorney general in my state. i dealt with some of these issues. i sensed something was really wrong without being in on the inside. and when i heard john give that speech, i went to mansfield and i said, when you're setting this committee up, would you look at me?
he said, yeah, i will. >> senator hart, you were a freshman senator, only three weeks on the job at that point. how did you handle this kind of -- and given a prominent role as well as a drafter, primary drafter for the courts. how did you handle that kind of responsibility so quickly? >> well, i was not only a freshman senator, it was my first month in the senate. i had barely met the other senators by this time. the answer to your first question is why do it now is why hadn't we done it before? first article of the constitution requires the congress of the united states to oversee the operations of the executive branch. all of them. it does not exempt national security. and from 1947 and the passage of the national security act, beginning of the creation of what's been called the national security state, which then incorporated -- began to incorporate cia and expand very, very rapidly, there had been not only virtually but there had been no congressional oversight.
so historically the question is between 1947 and 1975, why hadn't congress done its work? and we could spend a profitable hour discussing how most members of congress did not want to know, and, in fact, said senior members of the senate had said i don't want to know. well, that's not what the constitution says. you have to know whether you want to or not, and so this was long overdue. >> and what did that experience teach you as a young senator how the government works? >> well i still tell student audiences that i'm the last idealist, so when i'm gone there are no more. it was a hugely disillusioning
experience, i would say particularly, not just a surveillance that went on under particularly the previous administration, but what came to be or what we discovered as the assassination plots. and then even worse the use of the as i of the mafia to try to carry out those plants against fidel castro. this opened up so many dark currents under our government. i've characterized it as a sewer under the city on a hill. and for a 37-year-old first term, first year senator, this was a great disillusionment. but i think in a way the work of the committee and our willingness on a bipartisan basis to make fundamental changes in the broadly defined intelligent sector was a triumph of democracy.
and a tribute to the 11 members of that committee and probably one of the best congressional staffs that has ever been put together in the history of the republic. >> fritz, you were the chief council of that staff. you didn't have any intelligent background when you were asked to do that job. how did you gain the trust of the intelligence agencies? >> how did we -- i don't think i'm very important in that. but we got it by first being determined that was absolutely necessary. and senator mondale had a great remark in which he said we'll just get extensions so they can't out last us. and showing the bipartisan nature of the committee, john towers said something like hallelujah, god bless you or something like that. and then, also -- in addition to
being determined, show that you can reliably handle secrets. and the biggest there are legitimate secrets. i think our committee did that extraordinarily well. we had essentially no leaks and we made reasonable agreements with the executive branch about keeping certain things -- keeping secrets. and in contrast, the house committee foundered and faltered and failed because they never were able to reach -- refuse to reach those accommodations with the government. >> all right. and vice president mondale it's hard to keep politics out of politics. this was an investigation by politicians. what did you do to relieve any concerns that there was going to be politization or partisanship in the investigation? >> i think there ought to be a separate study of how this committee worked and how it was
established and how it approached its activities. because we did achieve, i think, a general acceptance as a committee that was truly bipartisan and was working with everybody to bring these results about. and i would start in that study by reading the following names. frank church, chairman, john j. tower, vice chairman. philip art, walter huddleston. gary hart. howard baker, barry goldwater. matt matthias and richard striker. staff, bill miller, fritz schwartz curt smothers who i don't think is here. how did you get a committee like that? my answer is mike mansfield. he wanted this to succeed. and he wanted to set up a committee that he thought could go through this huge explosive
hearing, these process, and do what he knew would have to be done to work together and sustain bipartisanship. that worked. this committee was working together. there was a single staff. we didn't have a republican staff and a democratic staff. bill miller came off the staff john sherman cooper, one of the saints of the senate and also a republican. and he had enormous prestige in that senate as a gifted staff member. and he was able -- he knew exactly what had to be done. he was an old hand. then i think you'd have to say that the executive branch, maybe with a little time, but they ended up in effect supporting what we were all doing. you have to give some credit to
president ford who was not an idlog probably afraid of the concept but he wanted it to succeed. you had attorney general levi from university of chicago who became a tremendous supporter as the head of the justice department in shaping regulations and rules and became a believer before it was over. and so the contrast of this committee that worked together, excellent staff that provided that same background. and then the executive branch cooperating, not perfectly. but when you think of what we asked them and what they delivered, one of the jobs i had
was -- as chairman of this committee, domestic task force we called it, was to look into the fbi records. some of you were with me on that process. well, we were seeing stuff that had never been seen before. we were seeing a pattern of abuse. we uncovered, for example, the fbi -- it was really hoover's -- antagonism toward martin luther king. he was convinced that martin luther king headed a black hate group, as they put it. he had agents all over the place trying to find something on king to knock him off his pedestal as they put it. they tried to break up the
marriage. when king was picked to get the -- go to see the pope to get high international awards, the bureau tried today block that. they tried to in effect corrupt the public process and undermine and destroy one of the great leaders america's had. i think when this came out and we realized that this was not a process that let the public democracy work, but in fact was process that was corrupting one of the most essential elements, we knew we had something. and i think that carried the day. >> let me -- not heroes, certainly important figures i would add what fritz has said, vice president mondale said director william colby. a very controversial situation for him. he was under enormous pressure from the cia not to reveal some
of the worst excesses or i'll say excesses. but he made a decision to disclose to us in a highly intense session, long session, what came to be called shorthand the family jewels. it was in an inspector general's report that pretty much covered the waterfront of things that might be controversial or illegal, unconstitutional. he made a decision to reveal those to us. it was a monumental decision. it made an incredible difference in our ability to address the reforms and propose the reforms that we did. and he left the agency eventually under great criticism
from people who thought he should have stonewalled and chose not to. so i have always felt that he was a very, very important figure. >> another factor that was really important was the structure of the committee. as mansfield set it up it was six democrats to five republicans instead of what would have been normal seven to four. and john tower was a vice chairman and not a ranking member. and then the committee in its reaching bipartisan conclusions in a way our most important finding was that every president from franklin roosevelt to nixon, six presidents, four democrats and two republicans had abused their secret powers, it helps us internally and externally to show that we were not being partisan in our major findings. >> senator hart you worked more on the foreign intelligence matters. you recently wrote that the church committee experienced --
of your church committee experience is it's important we recognize the extraordinary power the united states has in the international respect for our constitutional principles. but it often seems in times of crisis we forget that power. why is that? >> i think the phrase in times of crisis. we cede -- we being the other branches of government, particularly the congress cede to the executive branch great powers. if we are under assault or perceive ourselves to be under assault. the problem is that then encourages administrations to, i wouldn't say generate crisis, but to elevate a crisis to acquire power. this is where congress is most
under pressure to do it's job and to ask questions. not to undermine executive authority but to defend the constitution. and protect the american people. again, as i said there and i've said many times in other places, those of us who have had a chance to travel the world know we are being watched by not only leaders in foreign governments, but people on the street. and they watch us not only for the kind of comical excesses that we exhibit, but the degree to which we live up to who we claim to be. the american people and their presidents and others claim high standards for this country then when we don't live up to those, this isn't missed by people around the world. they see that. and it's not only kind of
hypocrisy, it's used by our opponents to say see they claim one thing and do another. >> fritz, you have written a book on secrecy. how does government secrecy undermine the power of our constitutional structure and our democratic process? >> i can pick up exactly on what gary said. the heart of american democracy is that the people should be involved. that's what we're about. james madison said the -- in a democracy, public opinion is the true sovereign. and the problem is that we have over the last 60 years, 60 plus years, we've gone into a secrecy society, a secrecy culture where the norm is to keep it away from the people instead of striving to get it to the people. and that is totally inconsistent with the values upon which this
country was built. >> another one of the myths i think that has developed is the idea that the church committee investigation or another type of comprehensive investigation is about playing got you. it's only about trying to find the abuses and wag a finger. vice president mondale? >> i think one of the greatest strengths exhibited about the work of the church committee is how that report has endured. no one challenged accuracy of our findings. i have not heard one serious scholar say this is is not right, so we got our facts right, and it was not just a got you disclosure, it contained a range of remedies that were designed to prevent recurrence of these abuses. the two intelligence committees, which hadn't been there before, the foreign intelligence
surveillance act, the fisa court, the new regulations and rules issued out of the white house. this was -- was this not a passing effort to move on? it was an attempt to bring about a fundamental change in how we dealt with intelligence so it would be more efficient, it would be more responsive, and also adhere to the laws and the constitution of the united states. >> and did the heads of the intelligence agencies at the time recognize it as -- its purpose as making the intelligence agencies better at what they did? >> some of them, one of the underlying themes that i picked up, i think several others did, is when you talk to people like colby, talk to some of the
people in the bureau, talk to some of the people else where in the agencies, they were complaining about how screwed up their agencies were. we mentioned angleton earlier. and i heard this from colby. angleton was in a key spot in the cia. and he decided all intelligence dealing with counterespionage was contrived by the soviet union. none of it was to be believed. don't worry about it. and it should be worried about. how do we deal with it. and there were other stories, about, you know, hoover was gone now. but hoover had, you know, a witch's brew of nut stuff going on in there. and people around him knew that. and he was full of all kinds of strange ideas. we could tell stories here. he wanted to make certain that any gossip about any high official was immediately delivered to him.
and he had a file that he kept in his own office, several file cabinets, with every salacious rumor that he heard. he wanted -- then what he would often do is go to the principle involve and say there's a story out, but don't worry about it we'll keep it under -- so you had another kept officer. and this stuff was going on. and it bothered a lot of the sensitive bureau agents. and so there was a great, desire within the agencies to get reform and i think they wanted us to succeed. >> let me fortify that with a story i told at a dinner last night that recurs. in one of our early organizational meetings as to how we should proceed. by the way, since this has never
been done before, no one knew what step one was. order files and so forth. it came my turn, as the most junior member to make a suggestion. i said why don't we start out by each of us asking for our own cia and fbi files. and the room got very, very quiet. and the since was broken by barry goldwater who said i don't know what they've got on me. there you are. you had member, senior members of the senate of the united states intimidated by the very agencies we were setting out to investigate. >> if hoover had not been dead, we'd have had a hard time going with the fbi. maybe we would have, may we wouldn't have. but it was sure helpful he was dead. on your first point about got you, that never was our point. but we did believe that to get
reform, it was important that just to theorize about the problems, but to get hard evidence. and that really helped. because we showed not only dr. king, but many, many less well-known people were abused and injured and committed suicide and so forth. so you -- it's not got you, but it's to make credible the need for fundamental reform. >> well, you take the perhaps most controversial area we investigated, the assassination attempts to a person. members and staff the effort was not to pin blame. the effort was to find out systematically how that decision was made. and we spent hours asking questions. hearings, secret hearings with people involved in both the
eisenhower and kennedy administration who made the decision. who decides in our government to kill another foreign leader. and it wasn't pin the tail on the donkey, it was an inquiry that was systemic. how does the leader of the united states make a decision to kill a foreign leader. >> by knowing how those decisions are made you can put in guidelines and procedures and oversight mechanisms that will then make sure that we have systems that will prevent those improper activities. >> discovering a system which was designed to make it extremely difficult to decide who made the decision, was itself a terrible mistake by the government. that system needed to be exposed and criticized. >> that led to one of the reforms, which is so-called presidential finding. and that came out of our inquiry that if you're going to conduct a significant covert operation,
the president of the united states has to authorize it. so it's not, again, to pin blame, it is to identify accountability. and that's what we were trying to establish. >> and one thing i appreciate about all of your service is how you've stuck to these issues and worked on them, all the decades since. senator hart, you co-chaired the 1998 hart redman for international security which warned of security before the 9/11 attacks. what were you able to see in conducting that investigation that the administration wasn't or the intelligence agencies weren't? >> part of what we -- i think the intelligence agencies were beginning to see -- certainly beginning to see the terrorist threat. we had naval ships bombed or dynamited. our embassies had been attacked.
it wasn't like a secret. but what we were led to conclude in that commission, two and a half years of study, was that sooner or later, this kind of conflict was coming to our shores. it wasn't that there's going to be more terrorism. our statement in our final report was that america will be attacked by terrorists using weapons of mass destruction. we did not say commercial airliners. and that americans will die on american soil, possibly in large numbers. that was nine months before 9/11. what failed there was not the intelligence community, it was the failure of authorities, executive authorities, to listen and pay attention.
and they had the same intelligence we did. they just didn't pay attention to it. >> and fritz, in your book, you quote former white house chief of staff james baker who after 9/11 said the church committee unilaterally disarmed our intelligence agencies. do you agree with that? >> i forgive him because i think he was emotional. it was the afternoon of 9/11, and he said we had caused 9/11. he didn't pay attention to the record, number one. for example, the church committee said the fbi should get out of the business of investigating, you know, dissent and should concentrate on terrorism. and we said the cia should spend more effort with human intelligence and less simply relying on machines. and also howard baker, his fellow republican with the same last name, who was a great member of the church committee had said in the long run this
investigation will be very helpful to the intelligence committee. the idea that for 25 years, which it was then, people in government had been helpless to correct this terrible wrong that we'd done is itself absurd. and then, finally, picking up on the warnings that gary talked about that were going on, in the summer of 2001, after your hart redman report, the white house got many warnings that there was going to be a devastating terrorist attack. and i tried to develop in my book the argument that had they released that information to the public and particularly importantly to all the people in the government who were responsible for looking at things like strange people
getting pilot's licenses, it is very, very likely that 9/11 would have been prevented. they simply didn't do it. not out of malice, but because the secrecy culture is one that once something is secret, people sort of stop thinking about t. they never thought about, well, wouldn't it be smart to let the public and the people in the government know that there are these real powerful threats. >> well, secrecy culture operated even inside the intelligence community. our commission recommended the creation of the department of homeland security because we found out coast guard customs and border patrol were all operating -- we knew that -- under different federal departments. they did not have a common data base.
they did not have a common communication system. they had no way of talking to each other. and they all reported to separate cabinet officers. that's why we recommended the creation of a department of homeland security. those three agency and fema, not the gargantuan thing we now have. >> and the church committee's recommendations were an attempt to harness the power of our constitutional check and balances and the recommended reforms touched all three branches. we mentioned the executive reporting. there was the judicial branch, bringing them in with foreign intelligence surveillance court which we'll talk about in a moment senator hart you were one of the founding members of the senate oversight committee created as a result of the investigation. how would you rate its performance? >> well, sir, fritz schwartz said earlier, the common belief in washington was members of congress, politicians, couldn't keep secrets.
and overwhelming all of us heard. it was in the press this is going to fail because these guys can't keep their mouths shut. so that was challenge number one. don't talk. don't leak. now, in a culture, in a city of overwhelming leaks, this was a huge historic achievement. not only the church committee, but the permanent oversight committee. that was step number one. keep your mouth shut. when you're told secrets don't divulge the secrets to your friends and particularly if your friends are journalists. with all due respect. we had constitutionized the reforms of the church committee. that was our first task, set
these recommendations into a process. some of which were statutory, some of which were be executive order. and institutionalize briefings. you had to set a system where they would retenely come before us and particularly on covert operations, this was a very tenuous situation. because part of the mandate to the intelligence community was if you're going to undertake a covert operation, you've got to tell us about it. and not just an agent on the street talking to a possible source. but an operation. and that was also a question of could we keep our mouths shut. i was involved in the first two or three notifications. i think our first chairman was
danny anoi. he was in hawaii when one of the first notices came in. it happened to be when congress was not in session. i happened to be here. the agency got ahold of me and said okay, we're told to do this. here's what we're doing. here's the operation. i had to go to a secure phone, call the chairman of the committee, brief him, and let him decide whether to brief all the rest of the members of the committee. it was a work in progress. we were inventing oversight as we went along. and then, finally, rick underfirth and i one of the staff members made, i think, the first congressional trip. it was just the two of us to visit cia stations abroad to see how they operated.
we went to some of the key stations in europe and the middle east. as many as 10 or 11 of them including tehran at the time. 77 or 78. the shah was still in power. i've got some stories to tell about that. >> okay. vice president mondale, you were elected vice president and went to the executive branch. how did you look at these reform recommendations once you changed branches? >> if i had any questions about it i'd call fritz schwartz to help me understand it. no, i think that was a fortuitous development that helped for a smooth transition from the recommendations of the church committee to the incorporation of those recommendations in the executive policies. and president carter agreed with that. attorney general agreed with
that. we -- i talked -- spent time talking to the head of the agencies. they agreed to it. and when our executive rules went into place, there was, i would say almost unanimity within the executive branch and the congress about where we wanted to go. and that unanimity, i think, worked for about five years and then slowly it went else where. and if i would -- i know we're going to talk about this. but i would say, our proposal was based on the idea that there has to be a separation in checks and balances. while trying to keep this information secret. it hadn't been really tried before. and we gave it the college try. and i would say it's worked fairly well.
but with some -- with time, some disappointments. i think the congressional -- work of the congressional committees has been somewhat co-opted by the federal agencies themselves. i think we've seen evidence that they're restrained by maintaining diplomatic relations with each other and the public pays the price because we don't get full accountability. we've had some recent disputes and -- internal disputes that have been, i think, help demonstrate that. we thought that the courts, the fisa court, was going to be a magistrate function for the federal bench. and that's what it was. that the -- it's only function would be to act on applications for warrants. it was not to be a court that operated with general jurisdiction, as though it was a regular federal court.
that has slipped some. and i know this afternoon we're going to hear from one of the judges. that bothers me. because the fisa court can be a private supreme court for the agencies. everything they do is in camera and without any other litigants or persons who might be interested in the issue involved at all. it's in secret. it's without other interests involved. not only at the trial level, but at the appellate level. there is no way that a responsible party who objects to what's going on with solid reasons for doing so will be heard. and i think that the idea of giving broader jurisdiction to that court is a mistake. and either we have to broaden the rules for who can participate in these hearings,
or we have to walk the fisa court back to the rules that we put in place when we made our recommendation. but the idea of having a secret court of general jurisdiction competing with regular courts, and being the secret agency court, i think is intolerable. we should do something about that. if i got the floor here. another thing that really bothers me is the state secrets defense. almost every court case involves activities of the agencies, very quickly, a petition comes in
from the government saying this is a state secret issue and cannot be heard. we cannot participate. and the courts, not always, but very often, will say, well, we'll dismiss the case. so you can't even get to the merits of the case. no matter what the reasons for it. we've got a general statute that's supposed to deal with secrets where the judge will hear this and make a judgment about what can be done. under the current process, the state secrets issue that's being used across the board now, almost every case is -- follows by a dismissal. and, also, i don't know if ms. donahue is here today from the local law school here, but she said that the -- there's a lot of evidence that private companies will press the government to claim state
secrets to help them in a case that they have. so it's a really dangerous tendency. >> i think you're referring to laura donahue from georgetown law. >> is she here? no. okay. so i think this is really a serious problem. and i'd like to see some reforms in these issues to make the court more accountable. >> and because there is so much secrecy in the courts and in the intelligence committees, one of the ways that we find out of about things going on are often leaks to the media. and fritz, a lot of consciousness employees who is something wrong and report it end up suffering greatly, losing their jobs and even being prosecuted more recently.
how important is that channel of information? >> it's vital. there is one person here, tom drake, whose crime was describing how nsa was being inefficient in trying to deal with the incredible volume of information they take in every second. and who was charged with the espionage act and 35 years' potential sentence. it was a terrible overreaction to what was essentially an effort simply to blow the whistle and to get the government to do a better job. and being more general, this country depends on newspapers j journalists in general. we were built on newspapers. right after madison made that comment about public opinion, the u.s. congress gave subsidies to newspapers so that in a while 90% of the weight of the mails were newspapers and only 10% of the revenue.
journalism is vital. and it is still vital today. whistle blowers are vital. i'm going to make an ubsolicited comment about edward snowden. it seems to me what congress is doing in trying to amend the patriot act proved that he acting from patriotic motives has helped the country. so information coming from the inside, information coming from investigative journalists is absolutely vital to american democracy. >> great. thank you. i want to get to questions, but you both signed on -- all three of you signed on to the strengthening of the intelligence oversight report
that the brannan center put out that calls for a comprehensive investigation. do you think it's time for that kind of investigation, and what advice can you give to -- >> before we get to that i want to pick up on fritz's point. i'm a big obama supporter. i supported him in every election. i'm proud of him as president. but i don't like what he's doing in the intelligence area. and this administration has been tougher on the press by far than any other administration in american history. the press is terrorized. people might want to talk to the press, scared to death. and i would hope they'd think this over and try to help us find balance between the responsibility of the press and the ability of americans to speak out. this is a real tough problem now. >> so i'm going to go ahead and open it up to questions. if we have questions, we do have a mike. if you just raise your hand. come on, there are a lot of intelligent people here. we need some questions.
speak out. this is a real tough problem now. >> so i'm going to go ahead and open it up to questions. if we have questions, we do have a mic. if you just raise your hand. come on, there are a lot of intelligence people here. we need some questions. >> good morning, incredible program, thank you for being here. 60% to 70% of our national security budget is paid to private contractors. and many of the abuses that occurred by the government are now being handled under the covers by these private contractors. i'm thinking of janice potcer was surveilled for eight years because she wrote something unfavorable about ringling brothers circus. we saw that with the garret -- the hb hack that had powerpoint presentations describing how they were going to harass. wikileaks and various different critics. i think what you're doing is fantastic. but how do you reach out and include the intelligence community in this effort? because i think the worst abuses are probably happening there. >> and to repeat the question, she was asking about the increasing privatization of intelligence and how we get oversight control of private
companies that are doing work that used to be in the purview of -- >> well, this is -- this is the biggest development, one of the biggest in the last 40 years. the explosive growth of the government side of intelligence, the expansion of the nsa to some degree the cia and others. and, of course, the new layer of director of national intelligence with hundreds, if not thousands of employees. that's a separate issue. so the government's side of it has grown explosively. but then you have the contractors. and i don't think in our time, in our ancient time there were private contractors in this so-called community. how many there are today, god knows.
it's estimated the number of employee and contractors in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands. and many as the new system of government is to go, quote, off budget. so you don't even have budgetary accountability because the director of the cia or the ndi or whatever they're called can hire these consultants, mr. snowden, by the way, for better or worse, and they are not in the same level of accountability as public employees. and then, finally, you layer on top of that the explosive expansion of technology, so you've got a bigger public community, you add to that a private side of the dimensions we do not know, and maybe even the president of the united states does not know, and then
the ability to pick stuff out of the ether of any individual in america or the world, and it's a brave new world. >> hi. i want to talk about intelligence agency charters. now, one of the big projects that came out of the committee, mr. vice president, there was actual work done on this inside the administration early in the carter years. if you look at the paperwork on that you see suddenly the administration which was started out supportive of the intelligence agency charters just stops doing anything on
this. and senator hart, the senate intelligence committee which pushes on charters stops after 1980. i'd like to get your reading on did we lose an opportunity there? should we have charters for our intelligence agencies? and how would we go about doing that if we wanted to get there. >> my recollection is pretty vague on that. i think we found it impossible to write. we were for it, we tried to write it. >> it's so difficult. >> yeah. >> on the committee. >> right. >> and of course --
>> we -- i think we gave up because -- i was for it but we couldn't get it done. didn't know how to do it. >> and attorney general edward levy wrote guidelines for the fbi that sort of took some of that pressure off. unfortunately, those have been amended many times since, including in 2008 where they were basically eviscerated. but certainly a great question, thank you very much. >> something was directed to me, but i didn't hear it. >> that the committee stopped pressing for it eventually. that the intelligence committees that were pressing for charters for the agencies eventually grew weary and stopped pressing for the charters. >> intelligence committee today? >> no. no. up until 1980. >> i don't know. >> hi, thank you very much to the center and the panelists for the program. i'm adam with the american librarian association. we have been on the front lines to restoring some of the civil liberties. in 78 hours the senate is going to reconvene to do something or nothing. with respect to the usa freedom act, with respect to extending expiring provisions of the patriot act. i would be a bad lobbyist to ask you gentlemen to say whatever you wish to your former colleagues in the senate. >> repeat the question.
>> so his question is there are three provisions to the patriot act that are set to expire. and the congress is now coming to a decision point and what would your advice be to them. >> well, you know, it's fashionable to say we've got to find a balance between security and liberty. privacy. and yet no one has figured out what that balance is. and it's one i think that perplexes all of us. it does me, anyway, even to this day. there are bad people in the world. and some of them are in our country. and so a public which by and
large, if surveyed, would overwhelmingly say protect my privacy. 99% of whom, when the bomb goes off would say why weren't you doing your job. and, again, we're into this 21st century world of technology where the ability to surveil someone, listen to phone calls, track messages and so forth, is greater than it's ever been. in the hold days you had to send 40 agents out there to listen to phone calls. today you can sit in an office anywhere where you can. we're entering an age of encryption and the phone
companies are going to say we're going to protect you from the government. if your concern is the bomb going off, then you're not quite sure whether you wants citizens protected from the government. if the government is doing its job in the appropriate way. so i keep coming back to the best protection of people's liberty is the fourth amendment to the constitution. and if the fisa system isn't working, let's find one that does in which in secret or not, probably in secret, but with a public advocate on the other side of the case to say your honor, you've heard the government's case, now let me tell you hypothetically or otherwise, what the case for rejecting this warrant is so at least you have an advocacy proceeding. that's one solution. but all i can say is there's going to be another major
terrorist attack on this country. i happen to think it's going to be bilogical. but it may not be. it concerns me. people in new york are deeply concerned. as they should be. people in denver should be concerned as well. >> one of the controversy. with that provision is when the government did an analysis and some independent groups, they found it was never actually useful to preventing a terrorist attack. >> i'd like to answer that question. i would listen to gary, i agree with what he said, but i think that the issue before the congress the next few days is whether we're going to eliminate this meta data strategy. there have been two insider commissions with key officials, experts, both of which said this
is not effective. it's an enormous undertaking. it's a big unlimited strategy to interfere with the privacies of the americans and the fourth amendment. it was sort of -- it was adopted in secret. it was the congress acted later without being told what they were voting on. this is the first time we've really known what going on. i hope when this is over -- i think the president has said he wants to get rid of mata data. this is a good time -- many of the leaders in the congress are saying that on both sides. this is the most optimistic opportunity i've seen in a long
time to step back from some of this excess that we've been dealing with. >> picking up on the word optimistic, you know, it's natural for all of us to say, wow, since particularly since 9/11, look at all the terrible things that have happened. a lot of terrible things have happened. excesses have happened. what's going on now is not partisan. you have that vote in the house, which is like 340-80. overwhelmingly both republicans and democrats upset about excess and wanting to find creative ways that still protect the country, but that don't just say you can do anything you want to. >> let me add to my comment. what vice president mondale said. we've got to cancel, not renew the great hoover in the sky. not j. edgar, but the vacuum. what i was talking about was the targeted with some probable cause that a crime has been committed or is about to be
committed. >> right. let me go to this side. is there somebody? >> hi there, good morning. thank you so much for coming in and speaking. it's an honor and a pleasure. so my question is about -- we touched on this earlier -- walking the fine line between liberty and secrecy. as you said before -- actually, i was wondering, was there ever a point in time when you guys were working in the church committee where you found that something you had seen wasn't to be shared with the public. where you found it was actually better to keep it secret? and how did you find or how do you feel -- sorry. let me collect my thoughts. how do you feel about keeping certain things secret, how do you feel about walking that fine line between liberty and secrecy? where does it end sharing things with the public? what do they not need to know.
>> the question just so -- during your church committee investigation, did you come across secrets that needed to be kept secret. and in your later life, how do you look at the balance between secrecy and our democratic system? >> yeah. that was the great challenge of the church committee to do our work but knowing that much of it had to be in secret. so it was daily -- wasn't an extraordinary event, it was almost a daily event. we had -- we tried to put in place things that helped us, like we wouldn't accept the name of any agent any american agent. we did not want it in the files. we did not want to hear the person's name. we wanted to stay out of that business because it wasn't essential to what we were doing.
all the way through we were trying to sort out ways of dealing with your question, yet move ahead with our strategy. >> one interesting issue we faced was whether the hearings on the assassination plots to kill castro and to kill other people would be held in public. and senator howard baker pushed hard that they should be held in public, giving good arguments. and senator frank church, the chair said no, i don't think we should hold them in public. because these are going to be our first hearings and it's inevitable if you hold those hearings in public, things will come out which would not be good to come out. one thing particularly, names. and whereas if you hold the hearing in executive session and then write an extremely detailed report, you avoid those risks. of course, it would have been politically great for senator church to hold those incredibly
dramatic hearings. it would have been kind of fun for me because i usually did the first examination of the witnesses. but i think he was right, that it was better to be cautious and hold those hearings in private and then have an extremely detailed final report, which gary was one of the people who was the drafting committee. church and tower and gary. it was good fun. >> could i use this occasion as i have in the past? just to identify tim ginsly of a hang nail that plagues me 40 years later, naming names. the three mafia figures in the castro plots. we heard from one of them twice. the second time -- first time he came and went. no public notice at all. highly secret. the questions obviously were who
ordered castro killed, what roll did you play and so forth. and i felt at a time -- i don't know by vice president mondale, he was generally forthcoming but still knew a lot of stuff he wasn't telling us. he went home to miami and disappeared. and ended up dead. he was in his 70s. in mafia terms in those days that was retirement. for the rest of us now, that's middle age. the second figure was probably the top mafia figure in america. even -- fritz can verify this. we were prepared to subpoena him or the house committee was -- he was killed in his basement with six bullet holds in his throat. neither of these crimes have been solved. now, by and large, the media
included, these were dismissed as kind of mafia stuff. there is no doubt in my mind they were killed in connection with our committee. now, the question is why. who did it and why? >> bert, go ahead. bert and then rick. >> yes, i have a brief comment and a question. the brief comment the judicial committee a couple years ago reported out a bill, bipartisan to dramatically change the state secret problem, which this administration opposed. my question goes back to mike's original question about how the church committee was able to come about and describe the turbulent times. but my experience is that the history of intelligence and
oversight is all before 9/11 and after 9/11. and what i mean is, not people in this room, but people who follow current events, a lot of my acquaintances who are liberals, after the church committee report and disclosures were sufficiently outraged to back a lot of reforms, which is as you say have been evishiated. the levy guidelines which really came from the church committee recommendations that vice president mondale worked on and the assassination executive order. but after 9/11, those same
people, the same kinds of people, in my experience, have a different attitude. and it is essentially i don't care, even if they're eavesdropping on my first amendment activity, my dissent protest and i don't care even if they can't show that they have thwarted terrorist attacks as a result. if an infinitesimally decreases the chance of my husband getting blown up at grand central, just do it. and so my question -- and the votes in the house bipartisan now on 215 maybe show a little improvement, but i think it's been eviscerated and will continue to be. my question is, how do you get the public on this balancing you were talking about to really
understand the harm of excessive secrecy in light of that attitude? >> it's the reality of this dealing in this field that when americans are afraid, they reach for a strategy where they wipe away the constitutional legal protections and usually at great sacrifice to our security and to america's stature as a law-abiding nation. and whenever these issues come up, the people that want to go in that direction try to fan the flames of fear rather than trust. even though i think there's all kinds of evidence that responsible intelligence operation committees like ours
actually strengthen the capacity of these agencies to defenders made it more possible that they would do their job well and efficiently. also, this argument totally ignores the effect of limiting democracy on the public process. if you just say we're going to turn off the institution for a while until we get this, it is not an incident thing. you chill the whole public process. you prohibit debate that should be heard. and the reforms that can follow. the right of the public to be heard on these great issues. and i think it's a hard argument to make. but i am confident that what we did and how we tried to do it and the spirit of what we did is the best way of protecting our country. >> rick and pat? >> it's great to see the three of you together again. i can't believe it's been 40
years. all working together. i'd like to ask two questions. one on the cia and one on the fbi. on the cia, post 9/11 a read a report in the "washington post" saying the cia has become a highly efficient killing machine. >> yeah. >> this goes to the question of the use of drones. and we know that that's something we didn't have to deal with on the church committee because drones and missiles and the rest weren't there. this is something that is of concern for a number of reasons,
including whether or not the use of drones for basically target assassinations is bumping up executive order and that. they say enemy combatants is the way they are allowed to get around assassin prohibition. the whether it has evolved to a central action agency and is losing its central function of collecting intelligence to inform decision making. president obama has said and john brennan has said they think this should be off-loaded to the pentagon. my question is, are you concerned about this evolution of the cia, and do you believe these kinds of actions, which will certainly continue into the future, should be military or cia? and then a quick question on the fbi. they're looking for a new building. it's going to be either in virginia or maryland. this monstrosity on pennsylvania avenue will go away.
my question is, is it now time to retire the name of j. edgar hoover? >> bob morgan wanted to take hoover's name off. he was on the committee. we decided to wait a while. it would be great. why should hoover's name be on the fbi? he was a great bureaucrat. he did so much harm to this country not just to people but by confusing people to believe that communists controlled the anti-vietnam war movement his name should not be on a public building. now that it is a new building it doesn't have quite the same, you know, looking like the soviet union and the 1984 of changing things. it is a choice not to put it on a new building. >> yeah. i was back to drones and hadn't gotten to hoover yet. i mentioned technology earlier and the great changes in the last 40 years, and that's one of them. there are those who think, and i'm still pondering, the use of
drones as a sophisticated assassination in fact. if you look at it, if you think about the use of drones in the battle field now is not a defined place in the battle of the bulge or battle fields all over the place. it raises amazing moral questions. we all know what those are in the sense of is it better to take out a handful of people with a drone. not only the bad guy but his family as well. and people who happen by at the time. or drop a bomb and wipe out a whole village. most people if you put it to a vote, most people would say the former.
confine the ancillary damage. but you do take the human element it of it. now hollywood has discovered this and there are all kinds of movies and stage plays about the kind of anonymous game player in some vehicle in the desert in nevada killing somebody or somebodies in afghanistan. it is pretty eerie. after world war ii, we, the world -- maybe during world war ii or between the world wars, created these conventions on warfare and how to conduct war far and re-pariotization. now you almost have to go back and create new international conventions to deal with these
kinds of questions. and i'm not sure, again, from a -- not only a law school graduate but divinity school graduate that we have come close to figuring out the moral compensation that drones represent. in a way, if you're futuristic and you look we should have newt gingrich here. if you look 10 years, 20 years down the road, people look back on drones like bi-planes in world war i, i suppose. i don't know the answer. it's complex. >> one thing -- in answer to your question, i think it should be transferred to the department of defense. because the department of defense is more accountable to the congress and the
appropriations process. and in other ways the cia is a dark cloud out there somewhere. and it is not responsive. it is not accountable. and i think that if it were moved to the defense department, it doesn't solve the problem. but there's the chances of make it more accountable and responsible are improved. >> one last question. >> i worked in the executive branch and as a civil servient, the only control i really had was on a budget. in the church committee, the budget has never been analyzed in a public way without revealing sources or methods. i don't think we need to know that. but we do need to know dollars and cents. if we had a budgetary process that was truly followed, i would
be interested. and one last question. since you brought up cy hirsch, what do you think about his article on bin laden? >> you ask how i felt about cc hirsch's recently article? >> i don't know. i read it twice. i'm not sure about that. >> and the other is on a budget process. >> obviously yes. i don't know why we keep these so-called secrets about what these departments are spending. it all leaks anyway. would we be better to do it in a responsible way where we could rely on the information we're getting. >> so we're over time. please, thank vice president mondale. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. [ applause ]. here tonight a look at the role of religion in health care. that's followed by a discussion on the epa and its ring in practices with bruise westerman. and a recently hearing on science, space and technology committee with gina mccarthy.
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